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Published: Friday, May 04, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— Local wineries begrudgingly accustomed to being overshadowed by their brethren in the northern half of the state are eagerly anticipating their chance to shine at the first-ever Vintage Ohio South wine festival.
The festival —scheduled for 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 12 inside a facility at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield — will include wineries and wines from all over the state. But it’s designed to showcase those wineries in the southern Ohio, according to organizers with the Ohio Wine Producers Association (OWPA), which is sponsoring the festival.
>> WINERY GUIDE: Where to enjoy local wine in southwest Ohio
Northern Ohio wineries, and especially those in the region northeast of Cleveland, capture most of the attention inside and outside Ohio, and understandably so, since they grow more wine grapes and pack in more wineries into a tourist-friendly region. But southern Ohio has a long winemaking tradition, a solid core of wineries, and a promising future, which might just start May 12. Several have signed up to pour their wines at the event.
“We’ve never had a festival this close to us,” said Kelly Brandeberry, whose family operates Brandeberry Winery in southern Clark County between Enon and Yellow Springs. “A lot of people in this area just don’t go to Ohio wine festivals, so we’re looking forward to this one.”
Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, says she’d like to turn Vintage Ohio South into an annual event.
In northeast Ohio, the OWPA has offered the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival for 23 years. The wine producers association has sponsored a wine festival in the Dayton-Springfield region before, but it’s been a few years.
From 2003-09, the wine producers association brought an annual Ohio wine festival to what was then the National City 2nd Street Market (now the Five Rivers MetroParks 2nd Street Market) in downtown Dayton. After a one-year hiatus, the OWPA brought an outdoor wine festival to the Boonshoft Museum that lasted a couple of years. Bad weather thwarted any chance for success at the outdoor events, but the Clark County Fairgrounds festival will be held indoors, rain or shine, for at least the first year, organizers said.
Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. The deadline for purchasing tickets online is 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 4. The last chance to purchase tickets in advance (and save $5) is prior to 4:30 p.m. May 9. Phone orders will be accepted at (440) 466-4417. More information (and ticket links) can be found at this ohiowines.org web site.
The entrance fee includes a wine glass to take home, 12 wine sampling tickets, and a six-bottle carrier tote for taking bottles of wines home. Additional wine sampling tickets may be purchased for $5 for three tickets. Designated Driver tickets are available for $10 and includes four complimentary sodas or waters.
RELATED: Clark County plan calls for modern fairgrounds (July 2017)
The event will include local craft artisans, restaurant vendors and food trucks, as well as live music, cooking demonstrations and wine-education events. Parking is free. For more information, call (440) 466-4417.
Participating wineries include:
AR Winery, Arcanum
Brandeberry Winery, Enon
Caesar Creek Vineyard, Xenia
Debonne Vineyards, Madison
Hanover Winery, Hamilton
Heineman's Winery, Put-in-Bay
It's Your Winery, Medina
Maize Valley Winery & Craft Brewery, Hartville
Meier's Wine Cellars, Silverton
Meranda-Nixon Winery, Ripley
O'Bannon Creek Vineyard, Pleasant Plain
Old Mason Winery & Vineyards, West Milton
Olde Schoolhouse Vineyards, Eaton
Plum Run Winery, Grove City
The Winery at Versailles, Versailles
Valley Vineyards, Morrow